Sunday, March 28, 2010

She's 'Nutts' about teaching career

Barbara Nutt initially didn't want to be a teacher when she graduated from college back in the late 1960s, but after more than 35 years of classroom experience, she couldn't picture herself living any other life.

"I'm so lucky to have taught where I taught, you know, I really did just enjoy it," says the retired West Morris Mendham High School business teacher. "It was the perfect career for me."

Nutt was rewarded for her teaching and service to the community by being inducted this month into the Mendham Hall of Fame, a program run by Mendham TV which is designed to recognize residents who have contributed to the community for many years.

She retired in 2006 and believes it was her last seven years at the school that really prompted her induction.

"My last seven years, I was in charge of the Service Club, and we just did so many things," Nutt recalls.

Some of those activities included bringing students to the Eric Johnson House to prepare dinner for AIDS patients, getting the students to donate blood once a year, and collecting money for 9/11 victims.

"We had over 400 members, and in seven years, we made more than $40,000 for charity," Nutt says.

Nutt took on many other sponsorships in her teaching career, and each one made an impression on more than a few young people's lives.

"I advised cheerleading for 14 years, and I once was the advisor of the yearbook," Nutt says. "Once, I coached JV basketball. I didn't know what I was doing, but they needed a body. I also had a booster club for five years."

She was an advisor for the Future Business Leaders of America for 15 years and, for some time, chairwoman of the business department, but she had to stop working on so many things when she had children of her own, both of whom she taught.

She was nominated for the Mendham Hall of Fame by one of her students, Evan Thomas. Nutt calls him "Buzzy." He worked with Nutt when he was an adult by organizing two charity comedy shows at the high school, starring local comedian Jim Breuer.

"We reconnected (over that event," " Nutt says and adds that Buzzy is an organizer at the Brookside Community Club, which hosts the annual Mendham Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "And his kids went to the school, so I think he was aware of all the things that the Service Club did. So I think that's the impetus (for my nomination)."

In her years of teaching, she saw many students who were the children of her previous students.

"There's so many kids who live around here," Nutt says. "I was 21 when I started, and some of them were 18. And I'll go to the store, and there's just so many people that I know. I have lots of kids of kids who have hung around."

Nutt says she's proud to have served Mendham for so many years: "Mendham High School was a wonderful place to teach," she says. "The kids were wonderful, the parents were so supportive, the administration, everybody. I loved it. I really did. It was just such a wonderful career for me."

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